The Home Stretch

viking-swordsYeah, I really hoped that the novel would be finished by now. But it isn’t.

I wrapped up the first draft, then proofed it. A good friend edited and returned it to me, and I improved it based on his invaluable input. After which, the draft was submitted to the beta readers and the major sponsors whose blessing I need.

And yes, they’ve provided their feedback.

A few canonical corrections are needed, and some improvements to the logic. But there are no more bottlenecks, so any delays are entirely my own. This would be the third round of editing. I guess I dread the possibility of a fourth round, as there will be at least one final party (beyond those already mentioned) who needs to provide approval before my work goes to print.

Is an author’s first novel always the hardest? The entire process has been a learning experience, and although I was able to apply a great deal of the hard earned experience from my previous anthologies, there was plenty of new lessons, new discoveries, and new stumbling blocks.

I have a rule that I don’t read the blogs of other, more established authors unless they’re a carefully cultivated platform for advising authors, like Anne R. Allen. There are two reasons for this. First, I don’t want their views to spoil my enjoyment of their work. And second, some of them cruelly and intentionally make the process sound more difficult if not impossible, to ward away competition.

But now I wonder if perhaps they could have warned me how hard being a writer can be, or perhaps provided valuable tips to help. I want the emotional explanations, wisdom and the insights they gained without ranting or venting frustrations or being put down for “threatening” their position. It has made me more thankful towards the few authors I’ve grown to view as mentors, and the handful of my writing friends I’ve picked up along the way.

So I intend to have the third and hopefully final draft complete by June 6th, and refuse to post another blog entry until then. Even this post was written on Friday and programmed for release today, just to provide some news and explain my upcoming silence. That is how badly I need to put off further distractions.

June 6th also happens to be the day I can start drinking again. You can guess how I’m going to celebrate once I’m finished.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

poster

The following is an extensive review of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because of this, spoilers are guaranteed, so turn away if you don’t want it ruined for you.

The Avengers came out in 2012, and swiftly rose to become the third highest grossing movie of all time. It was critically well received too, scoring 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Naturally, this set very high expectations for the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, again to be directed and written by Joss Whedon. (Note: The first installment also gave writing credit to Zak Penn, but that was not the case here.)

But Age of Ultron hasn’t had quite the same success. The movie seemed to have fallen short of financial analysts’ expectations, likely due to the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight, although it seems that it is catching up for lost time. And the critics were somewhat less forgiving of the movie too, which hovers around the 75% mark.

Comparing the latest to the original, Age of Ultron didn’t have some of the advantages the first one did. There was a tremendous amount of hype caused by five prequel films that established and developed the “core four” characters; Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was tacked onto a couple of the movies, and while not totally developed then, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was introduced in Iron Man 2 while Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) got winked at in Thor. Even the villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was pre-established.

As one can see, the stars for the first film were in alignment. No new characters were introduced. But the second Avengers movie differed greatly in this regard. It was larger in scope, introducing no less than four major characters and some fresh supporting cast, including arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (portrayed by Andy Serkis) who loses an arm to Ultron, likely setting the stage to become Klaw for Marvel’s Black Panther. The Avengers travel the world, and even deal with some political fall out for their actions. But while the first was fun and light, the sequel was considerably darker in tone in contrast to the first installment…

Age of Ultron


Characters

Characters have always been Director Whedon’s strength, and in Age of Ultron the old crew continue to shine. Early, we get a few great jokes and rib poking between the crew. From Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) shock of being warned about foul language by Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) to the party jests and friendly vibes, the good times are great and enjoyable for all to watch, however short they last.

Four new and major characters share screen time in Age of Ultron. The first two were the fraternal twins, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, better known as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the talented Elizabeth Olsen respectively. The siblings held Tony Stark in contempt, after almost losing their lives to the weaponry his company built. The integration of Stark Enterprises in this manner is an excellent reminder about Tony’s past and how, despite his efforts to become a good guy, he still has plenty for which to atone. The twins are so interconnected that they’re effectively one character. While Pietro’s abilities prove to be a handful for the Avengers to deal with on their own during the fight scenes, Wanda’s telepathic abilities force dreams upon the main characters, paving the story telling path for the audience.

The results of this range from decent and important, to faulted. On the plus side, Tony Stark’s vision of the Avengers defeat sets the stage for the creation of Ultron, Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) dream lead the Avengers to knowledge of the Infinity Stones (although the later bath scene was disjointedly added) and whatever Banner (Mark Ruffalo) saw led to an impressive show down between himself and Hulkbuster Iron Man. On the downside, Steve Roger’s continued affection for Peggy Carter didn’t really reveal anything new about him, and the discoveries about Natasha Romanoff seemed to cast a darker element without the payoff of insight that drives the plot.

UltronThen there was the troubling Ultron. Created by Stark to be the defender of earth, the protection they needed after the attack on New York in the first movie, Ultron’s construction makes complete sense. But while the origin story is effective and James Spader lends a particular charm to the antagonist, his motivation is weak.

During Ultron’s awakening, Jarvis’ attempts to welcome Ultron into existence sends our villain to read up on human history and immediately decides the human race must be removed to fulfill his objective. If the intention for his motivation was a logical assertion that humanity must be destroyed to protect the earth, then Ultron’s well developed understanding of sarcasm is rather inexplicable.

On that note, there was one phrase Ultron used to almost mock comic book movie tropes. When the Avengers meet Ultron in Ulysses Klaue’s hideout, Stark asks about Ultron’s intentions. “I’m glad you asked that, because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan,” Ultron replies and starts the fight. Two problems dog this line. First, while the villainous monologue is cliche and perhaps lazy, Ultron’s zeal remained under developed on the screen, and the tired trope would have been more effective than nothing.

The second problem is correlated, and wouldn’t exist had it not been for a line by Hawkeye towards the end of the film. During a tense moment, Clint tries to connect with the audience with the lines , “The city is flying! We’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow! None of this makes any sense!” But the statement effectively broke the fourth wall, and risked jarring the viewers out of the moment entirely, right at the film’s climax. The two lines build a case that perhaps Joss Whedon’s frustrations with Marvel were finding their way into the script, and risked harming the finished piece.

Among those grievances, Whedon also wanted to cast more characters including Spider Man and Captain Marvel. But the ensemble cast was already quite filled out and there was still one more to add; Vision, portrayed by Jarvis’ voice actor Paul Bettany. Created by a union of Jarvis, the Mind Infinity Stone and an android body made of Vibranium, Vision is a truly last minute addition to the Avengers who somehow manages to completely gain their trust with a two minute long talk, the results of which were slapdash and required a considerable suspension of belief to accept. To add anyone else is simply too much.


Relationships

hulk-blackwidowOne theme constantly explored in Age of Ultron is love interests. All of the core Avengers got a nod of some kind; Tony and Thor had an gentle ego driven face-off about their girls, Pepper Potts and Jane, at the celebratory party. During a hallucination brought on by the Scarlet Witch’s powers, Steve Rogers recalled Peggy Carter.

Best of all, Mr. Whedon invested a healthy dose of screen time establishing Barton/Hawkeye and his budding family. As there are no immediate plans to schedule Hawkeye for his own movie, to see him receive his due here makes one cheer for the little guy.

But then there is the big guy and a certain Ms. Widow.

The budding relationship between Romanoff and Banner (Mark Ruffalo) was not a highlight of the movie. It’s not that the relationship itself wouldn’t work; the characters had chemistry and weren’t without possibility. It was interesting to see Romanoff more vulnerable, such that even the bonhomie Captain acknowledged her attraction with a nod to their time together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

But fans who saw The Incredible Hulk know of Bruce’s involvement with Betty Ross (then played by Liv Tyler). While some defenders of the move may rush to deny correlation between that Hulk movie and the current Avengers, they may forget the final, after credits scene where Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) makes a brief appearance to speak with General Ross about the Avengers initiative.

Age of Ultron turned its back on that, and Betty went unmentioned. While it’s not hard to imagine Tony returning to his old ways perhaps, or the boisterous Thor acting without thinking, the introverted Dr. Banner is difficult to see as the philandering type. While everyone can relate to Banner’s loneliness, the absence of guilt isn’t becoming of the good doctor. At the very least, some acknowledgement of his former relationship would have helped. At most, some closure to connect the two movies in the greater continuum.

hulkbusterBut neither was offered, and the issue was compounded by a tongue-in-cheek jest calling the Hulk Buster armor “Veronica,” in reference to the love triangle of Archie Comics. Ignoring Bruce’s previous love life results in incoherent story telling, and feels as though it clashes with the dozen-movie strong universe.


The Verdict

After seeing The Avengers, one’s first instinct is often just to watch it again. To relish the fun and charm of these unlikely superheroes bickering and prodding one another until they realize just how high the stakes really are and banding together to save the world. It didn’t need dark and gritty.

Avengers: Age of Ultron however is something of a mess. It’s enjoyable for turning the brain off for two hours, but the fun doesn’t cling to the audience afterwards. The focus and Easter-eggs seem to rush into preparing the stage for a bigger battle, rather than focusing on the one at hand. Too many new characters are introduced, and trying to divide the time amongst them all equally proved to be a burden. While worth watching, Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t the cause for celebration we had hoped it would be.

At least Daredevil was amazing this year.

Laying Off the Alcohol

Today I begin my new job. But last week, a lot of little things have been going on. Among events in my life, I got comments back for my first novel and began work yesterday, giving it a final once over and correcting canon concerns. I’m trying to have the final draft ready no later than a month. I also have a critical review of Avengers: Age of Ultron that I’m tinkering with.

giLiverGrayBB1085Finally, I’m giving up drinking for a month.

I don’t really have any substance abuse problems. But I am heavy drinker, and there’s a fine line between that and being an alcoholic. Given good reason, I’ll abstain. But when I have a green flag to drink, I tend to consume a great deal, which has become an insidiously bad habit. I’ve been hearing some about what happens when a person stops drinking for about a month and I think the biggest attraction has to be the ease of getting sleep, as rest hasn’t been coming to me very easily since I moved.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the situations that lead me to the bottle, and it really depends on the people with whom I’m spending time. With most coworkers, I usually cap out at a reasonable two drinks. Strangers, usually just one unless we hit it off. But with my closer friends, there often isn’t much of a limit, and four or even five drinks can come and go in the blink of a few hours. This can sound alarming, but one of the things that enabled me was my proximity to home; I walked or took the metro, and never drove.

My new place in Virginia is a great reason to try abstinence for a while. But this does leave me to wonder about how my writing will be effected. Word craft and alcohol frequently go hand in hand, probably because story telling and being social are somewhat correlated. I do suspect that drinking and writing does make the author more prone to making literary mistakes both small (typos, grammar) and large (cliche approaches, less impressive improvisation) but it can help us get over the “writing hump” of actually putting words on the page.

At least my latest writing projects are primarily editing and proofing based, of which I’m fairly certain that not being inebriated is ideal. I’ll have to try and remember to jot down my feelings on it once we hit June.

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Review

This review is spoiler free.

Vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s creature… it’s not original to suggest these monsters unite in some shape or form. There have already been several such crossovers, in games like Castlevania or in movies such as The Monster Squad. But John Logan and Showtime have decided instead to revisit these old themes in the era of adult television. And when the word is out about the quality of the show and the depths of the story telling, fans of classic movie monsters will come running to catch horror drama Penny Dreadful, currently in its second season.

Much like True Detective, Penny Dreadful pays homage to an entire genre of writing, even in the name “penny dreadful” which references cheap literature from the Victorian times. The show slithers and scuttles, prodding the psychological as well as biological and bodily in disgusts. There is no kind of horror it will not blend into its well crafted amalgamation.

Set in London, 1891, Penny Dreadful combines not just the aforementioned monsters but their stories and source material into one very large universe that overlaps, though not rushing to do so. The main plot revolves around Grand Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) who lost his son in Africa and returns to find his daughter Mina missing, presumably abducted by vampires.

With considerable income and influence at his disposal, Malcolm employs several enigmatic characters, including spiritual medium Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and the physician Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway). But where as each of these characters have their own reasons and secrets for siding with Sir Murray, their personal histories force them to keep each other at arm’s length. Today’s allies could easily become tomorrow’s problems. Thus the first season maybe the beginning of their alliance, it is far from the start of the story.

Penny-Dreadful-VampireSeveral works are referenced, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Exorcist and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Of these, Frankenstein’s plot thread is uniquely both the most faithful, and yet the most surprising in its twists, as it also borrows a trait or two from The Phantom of the Opera.

Despite this, there are very slight changes to the rules. For example, vampires come in two varieties; the infected slaves, with red eyes and white hair, and the masters who have rodent like features, and are utterly incapable of hiding in plain sight. Penny Dreadful isn’t afraid to put its own slight spin on the monsters fans hold so near and dear, but not so much as to push its audience away with alienating revisionism.

The show’s greatest blessing and curse is the reluctance to use computer generated effects for its characters. While this makes the monsters truly look incredible, I fear that there are certain elements which could be held in check… the full visual effect weakened. It remains to be seen in future seasons if this rule is broken or if John Logan can bring dazzling, classical movie magic to the small screen.

Another aspect that sets Penny Dreadful apart from so many other shows is its plentiful yet very mature approach to sexuality. The screenwriters seemed to know and fully understand that sex is not without consequences, which manifests in strong plot twists and revelations about the nature of the characters, even if it takes a few episodes for the effects to be felt. Hedonist Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) seems to be the central force in this, as his antics naively damage those about him despite his total amicability to the protagonists.

proteusThe first season was eight episodes long, each being an hour apiece, and the characters were very well developed and portrayed. But my only complaint about Penny Dreadful lies not in the quality of this but in the balance. The show tended to overload the audience with disproportionate personal development, and very little rotation. Victor Frankenstein gets almost two or three episodes of back story in a row, followed by Vanessa Ives.

The problems these character have are so extensive, they both require a third of the entire season just to stabilize. And while the show faithfully rewards its viewership for their patience, it can benefit from being more even.

But one weakness does not a bad show make, especially one as much fun as this. Catch Penny Dreadful on Showtime on Sundays, and check out the first season on Netflix DVD.

The Art of Sincere Flattery

My life is somewhat rough right now. I am moving tomorrow, am waiting to hear back about a position I applied to weeks ago, and am currently ill. I don’t even known if it’s a cold or allergies, but my swollen sinuses have kept me from needed sleep last night.

However, I wanted a quick break from packing. And a discussion worthy thought came to me a few moments ago.

ENSo my friends and I have been discussing certain coming projects and the latest entertainment releases. The UK got to see Avengers: Age of Ultron before the United States did, and I’m thankful for those across the pond who haven’t mentioned any spoilers yet. One of my chums, Alec McQuay, saw the recent release of his novel Emily Nation, which is worth a glance if you’ve time.

Now I’ve been scratching my head, trying to remember who reminded me during our conversations. But someone caused me to recall this peculiar behavior a select few established authors engage in… where they do not read fiction.

In my time, I’ve only come across a single author who publicly admitted to disliking reading novels, despite writing them. This is not to say that this author does not read; they do. But they tend to stick to non-fiction, and there is fair merit to that. It’s easy to forget that scriveners like Robert E. Howard and living legend George R.R. Martin borrowed from the pages of history to spice their work.

Now… this has led me to ponder a few of my own approaches of input versus output in literature. Personally, I enjoy reading creative tales and novels. I tend towards a fairly eclectic blend of genres. In the vein of high fantasy or swords-and-sorcery I have read all the original Conan works from Howard, and everything available from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Prydain a long time ago.

In the grand scheme of readership, this really isn’t much. I’ve never read anything by Terry Pratchett nor R.A. Salvatore. The first four books of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series rest on my bookshelf, still awaiting my eyes. A Wizard of Earthsea is the only piece amongst the works of Ursula K. Le Guin I’ve finished, and I barely remember it. Scott Lynch had my attention for The Lies of Locke Lamora but I haven’t invested in the rest of his series. The majority of my fantasy reading has actually been in the works of the Black Library’s Warhammer fantasy universe, and those are usually light and often polished off in a weekend. There are probably a dozen other fantasy authors who have at least one story worth studying, but I haven’t found the time yet.

I mention this because, as of late, I have been penning and finishing a growing number of fantasy pieces. It’s part of my efforts to become a “full stack” author, who moves from genre to genre to learn what they can. Perhaps even combining these types, creating new tales from the union. As I’ve set horror down for the time being, fantasy has become my newest focus.

I’ve had successes in horror, some of which are still on going. But I haven’t quite had that one breakout success with fantasy. I feel as though I’m closing in on it but… time will tell. What makes me curious is that compared to fantasy, I’ve read very little horror. I’ve seen many horror films, and the visuals have stuck with me. But not much in the way of reading.

Part of me wonders if the act of “researching” a writing market by reading successes within it kind of poisons the well. On one hand, it does inform the author as to what has already been done before, yet at the same time, can it make us prone to fearing innovation?

About a year back, I was very proud of a tale I wrote. It was swords and sorcery meets Indus Valley Civilization, the area that was proto-India. Compared to European inspired fantasy, there is a tremendous amount of cultural differences to communicate. There was the caste system. There were the different kinds of weapons which we see as exotic, and they see as normal. They have their own pantheon of gods. It’s easy for us to take knowledge of Zeus or Thor for granted, but gods like Agni or Indra may require a little prefacing in English speaking markets.

I was very proud of this story. I still am despite its rejection, if for no other reason than the sheer scholarly effort to try and… just widen the door a crack, hoping for something inspired. I’ve read articles and blog posts about people who are a little tired of European centric tales and I kind of see their point. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that there is so much of it.

Maybe I’ll dust that story off and try again someday, and I’m hoping the wheel is finally turning a little. And if you’re one of those types seeking something new and inspired, try Emily Nation by McQuay.

For me however… back to work.

Spring 2015 Catalog

The small press publishing game is a very slow one. It’s easy to assume that last sentence is a complaint, but rather it’s insider knowledge of the challenges it takes to publish a good book.

msjWith multi-author anthologies, the biggest delays are obtaining rights, editing, and checking the changes against the authors’ permissions. Another time sink is the formatting, when one realizes the spacing between paragraphs and sentences is not uniform, or various word processors or fonts apply their own twist on the appearance of quotes and apostrophes. With electronic books, a relatively centered body of text is usually fine. But print has to account for the left-versus-right spaces between the pages themselves, lest words sink towards the spine.

I’ve been through the process enough to know.

Sorry, I’m digressing. But with good reason. I’ve been glancing over my bibliography and find it unfortunate that several of my tales have gone out of print with the closing of Cruentus Libri Press a year ago.

But between those stories and the expiration of publishing rights for The Black Winds Whispers, I now have a flash piece, three short stories and a novelette for republishing. Material enough to cobble together a low cost, personal anthology.

The central theme of this potential anthology is horror, but the sub-genres are more eclectic. I have a mystery and detective piece that takes place in London during the 70s. I have a World War I story between France and Germany, a psychological-medical tale, and the short, “The Child of Iron” which seemed a favorite amongst the beta readers. A fine mix of various forms of horror.

GuardiansWhile this is a very good start, I feel the need to provide a little more to make a satisfactory book. I’ve been glancing through my old drafts for any works I could dust off and improve. There is a World War II horror tale that certainly has promise.

I also realized that the rights to Welcome to Hell have ended. Which means that my horror western “The Rusted Star” can now be used. That makes for six pieces. I think that’s a solid measure.

There are also quite a few dark fantasy pieces (including one with Cthulu mythos in the Indus Valley civilization), but I feel that fantasy would be a theme-breaker for this anthology. Everything else is either current or historical, so I’d rather reserve those fantasy works for something else. I’ll see what I can find.

I’ve already contacted Manuel about a book cover and plan to take some time to review the old work throughout next month.

Because the majority of the manuscripts are finished and have been edited once, I think it’s reasonable I can have the entire thing complete and available by Halloween of this year. In the mean time, my faithful readers, here are a few other titles to check out.

“Favours the Prepared” from the Fox Pocket: Guardians.

To the outside world, Marissa is a reclusive shut in, remaining in her apartment and never showing her face. In truth, she is awaiting visitors.

The Good Fight“Sins and Dust” from Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015.

A historical-horror tale of genuine mad science that takes place during the Dust Bowl storms of the 30s. A gut wrenching look into the emotional toll of the Great Depression, and the desperate lengths we would go to for our loved ones.

“The Beast in the Beauty” from The Good Fight.

Coming soon from Emby Press is our (yes, our!) biggest and best tale yet. Sara is a high school student with a bright future. But her graduation plans are dashed when she discovers that someone she knows has broken into her school and violently slain several people. But the truth changes the course of her life forever… and launches her into a war behind the scenes, taking place in the same universe as Jonathan Ward’s “The Falcon” and A.R. Aston’s “For a Fistful of Diamonds” which both are in this anthology.

The Good Fight is the prologue to Outliers, a superhero epic quarterly series we’re developing with a few other authors. So don’t miss it!

A Game of Code

So code development can be remarkably like working out.

When you do it, it’s easier to keep going. The practice becomes self-sustaining, enlightening and enjoyable, making you feel better and better about yourself. But just as with exercise, a halt in your efforts can endure. It’s harder and harder to open the IDE (think studio for developing) and get in a few lines of code.

I hate to admit that I was strangely reluctant to start coding this new project. I had discussed it with Manuel and Andrew for a while, and originally envisioned a collectible card game. Because my friends live in the UK, I suggested that doing a demo on Android could make it easier to play test.

But discussion about the m300px-Demomanarket slowly changed our direction. And although we’ve only added the prefix “digital” to the collectible card game title, ipso facto… we are developing a video game.

After agreeing to it, I began to feel reluctance. Coding is exhausting, a mental strenuous practice of researching API (application programming interfaces) possibilities, reading through how-to guides, trial-and-error approaches to problem solving. There can and certainly will be days you drill down the details and exhaust all possibilities on how to solve some issue, only to arrive at frustrating dead-ends because of inexperience.

Today, I finally cracked my inhibitions and began working. Just some easy User Interface (UI) designs, I admit, but not without a few challenges and making me recognize some of the tools and approaches I will be taking to develop the game. Handling the Java-derived functionality is usually easy. And thus far, the User Interface specifications are either in the scope of my experience or just outside of it and won’t take long to crack. However I have entertained the possibilities of moving beyond the “card game” demeanor and embracing… something classic.

Part of this desire was sparked by a recent sale I’ve been conducting on eBay. I am preparing to move to Arlington, Virginia in a week, so I thought to unburden myself of old items that I no longer need. Mundane things, like clothes and unneeded kitchen goods, found their way to the local GoodWill. But books and old Playstation games were placed on sale, some of which selling quite handsomely despite being nigh twenty years of age.

As I didn’t wish to sell damaged and useless goods to my customers, I went ahead and tested my games against my old PlayStation 1. The majority of titles on sale were from SquareSoft, before its merger to Enix. In those days, Square had exceedingly good programmers and designers, their titles enjoyable and fun, a mix of traditional with the new processing power the console offered them. Some say this approach ended with the release of Final Fantasy VIII, when the focus on art and graphics shifted attention from meaningful innovation of core game play.

Recent indie titles, such as The Banner Saga, Risk of Rain and the renovated ShadowRun series, have proven to me that not only is their a market for old-school gaming, but forgotten fun to be had. And yet these titles did not require warehouses of artists either.

Now to be fair, I am aware that there is a good chance this project may never be finished. A few years back, I looked at documentation for Steam Engine projects on their wiki projects page. Many of them had great ideas but didn’t get off the ground either due to lack of technical talent, time or interest. It’s hard to invest it something like this when one is not getting paid. (Not to be cynical, but being a starving artist carries the downside of actually starving.)

Now I will set aside time once a month to discuss this project. A lot of details keep getting shifted around although we have a core idea that we’re sticking with. But we’ll see what happens next.